Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Stateside 7.26.2016

Jul 26, 2016

Today, we wonder why some Democrats still aren't on board with Hillary Clinton. And we hear from a group dedicated to reforming campaign finance.

A protestor calls for campaign finance reform during the 2011 Occupy Boston movement
flicker user Massachusetts Cop Block / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As you watch the political conventions and decide which candidates will get your vote, here's something you'll want to think about: Who helped to pay for all of that campaigning? And what happens when that newly elected or re-elected member of Congress gets back to Washington?

According to the group Issue One, members of Congress spend more than half of their time raising money, not governing.

And in 2010, just .26% of the population accounted for over two-thirds of contributions to congressional campaigns.

How can we fix America's campaign finance system?

Despite public outcry, Rep. Debbie Dingell does not believe this year’s Democratic primaries were rigged by the DNC.
Atlantic Council / Flickr

Are Bernie Sanders supporters ready to back Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s presidential nominee? The answer seems unclear, as the Democratic National Convention’s opening ceremony had mixed responses coming from the crowd on Monday.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell welcomed last night’s DNC discourse with open arms because of its unscripted nature.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm says tonight’s roll call vote will give Bernie Sanders supporters a chance to heal.

Sanders delegates booed the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name during the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Granholm says the Sanders supporters are dealing with a type of grief one gets when, after passionately backing a candidate, you must deal with their losing the election.  

“They got to take some time to be able to absorb that and see it turn,” Granholm told reporters.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s Democratic Party is asking his delegates to not boo speakers at tonight’s Democratic National Convention.

Monday, it seemed whenever Bernie Sanders supporters were booing DNC speakers, television networks panned over to the Michigan delegation. 

Sanders supporters in the Michigan delegation defaced pro-Hillary Clinton signs and heartily booed the mention of her name.

This morning, as the delegation sat down to breakfast, Michigan State Party Chairman Brandon Dillon asked the delegates to be more respectful tonight. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s mayor says he plans to strike a very different tone in his speech to the Democratic National Convention this week than the tone at last week’s Republican National Convention.

Mayor Mike Duggan says he was surprised to be asked to speak to the Philadelphia convention.

Duggan says he was “horrified” by Donald Trump’s GOP presidential acceptance speech last week in Cleveland.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Union members have been a key voting demographic in Michigan for decades.

Historically, they’ve been a reliable voting bloc for Democrats. But in 2016, the Trump campaign hopes to change that. 

Hillary Clinton can pretty much write off Joe Kinder’s vote. He’s a retired Ford UAW worker.   

“As far as Clinton goes, she can’t be trusted," says Kinder. "I wouldn’t vote for her."

Kinder, like other members of organized labor, believes the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by former President Bill Clinton, was a bad deal for American workers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tammie Lewis sat in her seat crying as Bernie Sanders finished his speech to the Democratic National Convention last night. Sanders spoke about what the campaign had achieved. Lewis could only think of what she has lost.

“I’m just upset,” Lewis said as tears streamed down her cheeks, “Nothing’s going to change.  He was my only hope."

Other Bernie Sanders delegates from Michigan sat stone-faced as their candidate extolled the virtues of Hillary Clinton.  

Melissa Arab stood holding a pro-Hillary sign she had altered to read STOP HER.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Michigan will be in the national spotlight this week during the Democratic National Convention.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters will serve as a co-chair at the convention and speakers from the state will include former Governor Jennifer Granholm and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Also on that list is Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who will speak Wednesday night. Weaver joined us today to discuss the upcoming convention, her speech and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s staying out of the presidential race this year, but he’s not staying out of politics.

This past week, Snyder’s political operation picked more than a dozen Republicans to support in state races.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Democratic National Convention starts today.

There are some Michiganders in Philadelphia this week hoping to change the all-but-certain outcome.

A rag tag caravan of cars, vans and campers rolled into the Parvin State Park campground in southern New Jersey just after 10 o’clock Saturday night.

Almost immediately a group of Bernie Sanders supporters picked up guitars and started singing.

The campground in south Jersey is about as far from Philadelphia as these Sanders supporters are from voting for Hillary Clinton in November.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz needed to resign her job. 

Revelations that the DNC under Wasserman-Schultz’ leadership tried to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign led to her announcement Sunday to step down.

Dingell says Wasserman-Schultz is a friend, but the Florida congresswoman had to go.

Matt Picio / Flickr

An ambitious plan to expand and upgrade regional transit in Metro Detroit might stall out because two key regional players aren’t on board.

Those two key players are Oakland and Macomb counties.

The Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority wants to put a millage on the November ballot, that would raise about $3 billion (estimates vary) over 20 years to fund its proposed transit master plan.

The RTA board was supposed to approve the ballot measure this week, but ended up postponing the vote at the last minute.

Outside the RNC in Cleveland.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Rebecca Kruth and Jack Lessenberry wrap up the Republican National Convention and look toward Philadelphia where the Democratic National Convention is set for next week. Kruth and Lessenberry also discuss a federal ruling that blocks Michigan’s ban on straight ticket voting and the loss of one of the state’s most prominent LGBT rights advocates.


Stateside 7.22.2016

Jul 22, 2016

Today, we hear how Jose Cuervo's tequila could play a role in making Ford cars lighter. And, could data equality on the internet bring unintended consequences? 

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Though he's attended in the past, former Kalamazoo County Republican chair Dave Worthams did not attend this year's Republican National Convention. 

But he did watch Donald Trump's Thursday night acceptance speech from home, and told us he didn't really like everything he saw. 

Trump supporter to the rescue!
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

One of the oddities of watching an event like the Republican National Convention on TV is not being able to see and feel the environment.

Activists gather along President Obama's motorcade route in Los Angeles on July 23, 2014, to push for net neutrality.
flickr user Free Press/Free Press Action Fund / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When a federal court of appeals upheld net neutrality, a lot of people applauded. Equal access to the internet for everyone seems right.

Right?

Well, there are some concerns. Not all internet use is the same.

polling place sign
Michael Dorausch / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You can vote a straight ticket ballot in November. Maybe.

A federal judge is blocking the Michigan law that banned straight party voting. 

But, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will appeal the decision, probably early next week.

The U.S. District Judge who's blocking the law, Gershwin Drain, wrote an opinion which indicated this would present a disproportionate burden on African American's right to vote. 

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Fewer than half of Michigan’s local leaders are optimistic about the state’s direction, and more of those leaders have soured on Governor Snyder’s leadership.

That’s according to the latest results from a twice-yearly University of Michigan survey.

The feelings about the state’s overall direction are just slightly more pessimistic than a year ago, but down significantly from 2014, when 55% of local leaders felt good about the state’s prospects. Now, it’s 44%.

Trump supporters at the RNC
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Republican National Convention is over.  

Now the Trump campaign must gear up for the general election in Michigan.

During the primaries, the Trump campaign operated with a very small staff. But the campaign’s top man in Michigan says that’s changing. 

“We’ll be bringing in a lot of experienced people,” says Scott Hagerstrom, the Trump campaign’s Michigan state director. “As soon as they hit the ground they can hit the ground running.”

Philadelphia, the hometown of Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody and the site of next week's Democratic National Convention.
Peter Miller / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last week, Michigan Radio's news director Vincent Duffy previewed the sights and sounds of Cleveland, his hometown, in advance of this week's Republican National Convention. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Republican leaders are moving on from this week’s national convention with issues to address.

State Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel says support is coalescing around Republican nominee Donald Trump. But she says the refusal of some of Trump’s former rivals to endorse him is a problem. 

“Bush, Kasich and Cruz, those are the ones that are not coming around. I understand it was a tough primary.   But if they don’t lead, it hurts our party,” says Romney-McDaniel. “Hopefully they’ll grow up soon.”

General Motors headquarters
FLICKER USER THOMAS HAWK https://flic.kr/p/nUAw76

General Motors earnings are up by 157%. They made $2.87 billion in the second quarter of this year.

This is up from $1.1 billion last year.

“General Motors continues to be on a roll,” said Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Howes said CEO Mary Barra is now trying to convince the investment community General Motors is an “earning machine.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder finally made it to Cleveland, in the final hours of the Republican National Convention.

As a band played “Takin’ Care of Business," Snyder walked around a second floor room in the Cleveland main library, talking to Michigan delegates to the RNC.

Until this event, the Republican governor had not attended any part of his party’s biggest event. Snyder insists he has other priorities in Michigan.

People voting.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has blocked Michigan's new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a way to discourage turnout among minorities.

Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a "disproportionate burden" on the rights of blacks to vote in the fall election.

Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party - votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit program focused on boosting small business in the city’s neighborhoods has a year under its belt.

The Motor City Match program has awarded $2 million in grants so far. It awarded another $500,000 to 11 new or expanding ventures on Wednesday.

They include food and restaurant businesses, two child care centers, a beauty supply store, and a music center.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump’s strength among white, blue collar, male voters powered him to victory in the Republican primaries, including Michigan’s.

But can expand his hold on this key demographic group?

Wednesday was a sunny day in downtown Cleveland and the food trucks were doing a brisk business. Joseph Albrecht was among those waiting their turn. He works construction. He says he used to have his own business, until Obamacare came along.

Now he’s planning to vote for Donald Trump.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Ted Cruz supporters liked what their candidate had to say at last night Republican National Convention.

They didn’t like that Donald Trump supporters booed him off the stage.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck sat on the convention floor listening to Cruz as the Texas senator outlined his vision for America, but didn’t endorse Trump.

Task force looks to reduce solid waste in Michigan

Jul 20, 2016
Trash bins
dcJohn / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Members of the public told a state panel they have concerns about landfills in their backyards. The hearing on Wednesday was part of the Department of Environmental Quality’s waste management task force. The task force was created in April of 2015. Its job is to come up with ways to increase recycling and re-use trash in the state.

Steve Sliver is the acting chief of the state Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection. He says the panel is hoping to create laws to promote sustainability in Michigan.

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